Fantasy | Book Review: The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins

The Library at Mount Char

tl:dr review: Wonderfully weird! Or weirdly wonderful! Either one works.

Long review: Yet another book recommended to me. The back cover makes this book sound almost like a normal thriller. There’s a psychopath who tortures children, a girl who was taken from her parents and has some delusions as to the identity of her abductor. The actual story is so weird, wonderful and touching that the blurb almost doesn’t do it just. Read on for a full review!

“Stay away from windows. And if you see people with tentacles, stay away. Don’t let them touch you.”Scott Hawkins

When I started this book, for the first hour or two it made no sense. There was a plot but it sounded far-fetched. Like the imagination of someone who has gone through so much trauma that the line between reality and fantasy no longer exists. The characters were all over the place, there were people with some sort of powers which again we a bit vague and their purpose wasn’t clear. Almost all the characters in the book are so weird that their normal behavior is unfathomable at first. And then there was this Father character who everyone was worried about. Father was missing and while some of the characters wanted to find him (including a lion?!) the others were secretly happy that he was gone.

Our protagonist, Carolyn, is probably the weirdest of the lot. She likes to dress like a hobo who found clothes in a dumpster. She is awkward around ‘normal American people’. The story of how Father, a.k.a Adam Black, saves Carolyn and the other kids and then raises them is quite epic. Till you start to understand what the hell is going on with these people, the story feels so crazy that you just want to keep on reading.

“Pelapi. It is an old word. There is no single word like it in English. It means ‘librarian,’ but also ‘apprentice,’ or perhaps ‘student.” Scott Hawkins

And then after the first 80 or so pages, the story started coming together like something wonderful. Loose ends were explained, backstories described events and within the next few hours, a lot of the story was clear and the book went from a head-scratcher to a “oh god…give me more!” The book is wonderfully weird like I said at the beginning. The characters are very well written and the story is incredible. Thinking back on where the book started and where it ended makes my head spin! It was a really good but weird journey!

‘Isshteve’ is such a wonderfully written character. You can probably make some guesses to his story and involvement with Carolyn but its so beautiful when its explained. The one character that surprised me completely was Father. Father’s chapters and backstories are excellent. Till his story is revealed, its completely normal to think of him as a tyrant and someone who loves to torture and barbecue children. But the weight of that backstory just adds so much character to Father. It’s incredible. Other amazing characters are David, Margaret and Michael.

“For all intents and purposes, the power of the Library is infinite. Tonight we’re going to settle who inherits control of reality.” Scott Hawkins

Overall, this is a fantastic book!

The Library at Mount Char




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